Dr. Catherine Benedict
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Catherine Benedict is living her dream life in sunny California as a clinical psychologist while assisting adolescents and young adults with cancer with their mental health wellness.
Catherine resides in the Bay Area, California with her husband, bouncing baby boy, Jack, their cat, Luna, and dog, Riley.
Her favorite place to be is traveling with loved ones, especially on big backpacking adventures with no plans or itinerary. Some of her favorite trips have been to Malawi, Zanzibar, and South Africa. She has never been to India, but that is one of the top places she’d like to visit.
Catherine’s primary support in her life is, of course, her husband. Jack, Luna, and Riley are always there for support too. She is very close with her parents, sister, and brother, and there is a very busy text chain that keeps everyone in touch. Last but certainly not least, Catherine has a “small but mighty” group of friends from childhood who are a great support system for her despite the fact that as adults they are all separated by great distances.
When Catherine was just out of college, she had a job as a research assistant at a hospital in Boston, MA. She had no idea what she wanted to do with her life, but she was interested in learning more about patients’ experiences while they were in the hospital. She asked some of the doctors she worked with if she could shadow them to learn more about clinical work. Borrowing a white lab coat from one of the nurses, she followed them on rounds, mostly visiting cancer patients who had developed complicated infections. Going into the rooms, meeting the patients and families, she saw first hand all the difficulties that accompany sickness. Although patients and families struggled with distressing emotions and life disruption of cancer and other illnesses, the doctors focused primarily on curing disease – as they should – but the other difficulties were unaddressed.
She quickly figured out that oncology was the right niche for her to be in because cancer changes every aspect of a person’s life, not just physical wellbeing. She saw a need to help people manage those changes and emotions throughout treatment and beyond.
Catherine has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a focus on health psychology and psycho-oncology. Her clinical focus is the treatment of cancer survivors coping with late/long-term effects from treatment, including physical, emotional, and interpersonal difficulties.
She also has expertise providing counseling that addresses women’s health issues, including sexual and reproductive health and leads the Women’s Sexual Health & Cancer Clinic within the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford University. Catherine also holds positions as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and is a member of the Stanford Cancer Institute.
Catherine’s research focuses on improving cancer survivorship through a better understanding of late/long-term effects, unmet needs, and preferences for support, and through the development of patient-centered behavioral interventions. Most of this work addresses the unique needs of young adult cancer survivors.
Catherine received her doctoral degree from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL, and completed a predoctoral internship at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. She completed a postdoctoral clinical research fellowship focusing on psycho-oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, NY. She also has a Bachelor’s in Science from Tufts University, Boston, MA.
Catherine serves on our Advisory Board and has primarily been involved with the patient-centered research that Gryt Health does. As a clinical psychologist who is passionate about the adolescent and young adult cancer patient experience, she does anything she can to support the meaningful work that Gryt Health has been involved with since its inception.
Catherine was there from the beginning when Gryt Health was conceptualized and founded. She was very involved with Stupid Cancer at the time and worked closely with the Gryt Health founders to develop the early version of the community resources we have today. When they split to pursue the work they wanted to do so passionately and started Gryt Health, Catherine naturally continued to work with them and support the Gryt founders in achieving their mission and goals.
Gryt Health was a way for Catherine to become more deeply rooted in the community. She feels it is a necessary part of her work to be connected to and communicate with patients and survivors outside of the hospital and medical places, in their day-to-day lives, to ensure their experiences are understood and that their voices are heard and respected. There must be a bidirectional relationship between the medical and patient communities – they must work together. She feels very strongly about supporting the cancer community in any way she can, especially when it comes to the underrepresented and underserved adolescent and young adult cancer community.
Catherine strongly believed in David Craig’s vision and wanted to support it. Her professional goal is to do anything that makes an impact, supports and empowers the cancer community.
The most exciting thing for Catherine regarding her work with Gryt Health is the ability to make a big impact…larger than what she would have if she was just working within her own clinic and academic institution. As Catherine says, “I can work with a patient and give personalized care, but to have a big impact on the whole community, to take it out of the hospital, and be able to reach thousands and maybe one day millions, that’s really exciting. You know, 99% of the experience of someone affected by cancer is going to be outside of the hospital room, outside of their connection with their doctor. And so how do we understand what patients are really going through? How do we support them in their daily lives? By giving a voice to people, listening, and making them feel understood, supported, and empowered, we can have a huge impact and really make a difference.”
Everyone at Gryt Health is so passionate and dedicated that Catherine immensely enjoys the work she does with us. Not only has the Gryt Health team taught her a lot and kept her in touch with the community that she is so passionate about serving, but Gryt Health has given Catherine a community as well.
It is an honor and a privilege in Catherine’s eyes to bear witness to a person’s healing, growth, and feeling better about what they’ve experienced in their life. She is inspired by helping others through their own journeys.
The hope that Catherine carries with her through her work with Gryt Health is that wherever a person is in their diagnosis, they can find Gryt Health – whether it be our community platform, the website, our social media, or programs – and find whatever it is they need in that moment. Catherine wants people to feel loved and supported through their healthcare journeys, to feel less alone, lost, and overwhelmed.
She hopes that she can be as dedicated and committed as Gryt Health needs her to be. Catherine hopes to be a good listener and team player. She is energized by the work she does with Gryt Health. Catherine wants to see Gryt Health continue expanding, continuing the research we do, building the resources that people need throughout their diagnoses and survivorship, expanding the services we offer by understanding people’s experiences and needs while raising awareness of healthcare issues and making sure that no one feels alone in their healthcare journey.
Catherine was raised with a mantra that the most important thing you can do is give back and help the world in some small way. She feels like she has been really fortunate in her life to have the privilege, power, resources, and energy to give back and help people. She believes one of the most powerful things you can do is to give people their voice. To help people find their voice, heal, and feel good. “Sometimes it’s not about finding happiness,” she shared, “but accepting sadness and recovery and living the life you have. I think finding your voice is a really important component of that.”